Facing the first sign of trouble, things unraveled quickly for the Arizona Diamondbacks and staff ace Ian Kennedy (8-3). A five-run sixth inning led by former D-Back Conor Jackson doomed the snakes, sending them to a 7-2 loss in the closing game of their final interleague series with the Oakland Athletics. Arizona lost the three-game set, 2-1.
Though, by all intensive purposes the game started off promising. Locked into an early pitchers duel, Arizona's Chris Young was finally able to break through in the top of the fourth, leading off the inning by blasting a double down the left field line off Gio Gonzalez. After consecutive Diamondback groundouts, Xaiver Nady scorched a two-out single up the middle to bring Young home and put Arizona up on the scoreboard, 1-0.
The momentum would be short lived, however, as Coco Crisp and Hideki Matsui immediately answered by leading off the bottom of the fourth with successive singles. After working his way to two outs, it briefly looked as if Ian Kennedy would be able to minimize the damage, until David DeJesus preceded to smash a double to left center, sending both Crisp and Matsui home to give Oakland control of the game, 2-1.
It would only get worse for the Diamondbacks. After a Chris Carter single led off the bottom of the sixth inning, former D-Back Conor Jackson opened the floodgates by crushing a homer to deep left field.
The A's would go on to score five runs in the inning, including a Scott Sizemore two-run homerun that chased Kennedy out of the game. Kennedy's rather unmemorable final line: five and two-thirds innings, ten hits, seven runs, six strikeouts and 103 pitches in the loss.
The Diamondbacks fleetingly threatened in the top of the eighth, loading the bases on reliever Michael Wuertz with no outs. However, Joey Devine would replace Wuertz, and induce two quick Arizona outs.
With the bases full Kurt Gibson sent Sean Burroughs up to plate, who ground through a long at-bat before knocking a shallow single to left field. Justin Upton would score on the play, and it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Chris Young would follow suit. Yet, in a bizarre series of events, the speedster was skittishly gunned down standing by Matsui for the third out of the inning. Young's effort was clearly questionable on the play, and Upton's vivid insistence for his outfield compatriot to slide into home plate was met with deaf ears.
Oakland's Gio Gonzalez walked away the game's winning pitcher, having tossed seven stellar innings in which he allowed just five hits and one run while striking out seven. The win is the All-Star lefty's eighth of the season.
With the loss, the Diamondbacks (45-40) maintain a two-and-a-half game deficit behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West. Next, Arizona travels to Milwaukee to begin a three-game series with the star-studded, NL Central-leading Brewers. First pitch will be at 7:10 p.m. MDT.